Friday 29 April 2011
This afternoon involved a walk into the village to visit first The Buck and Bell to try two of the beers on offer and then to The Harvester (note this is not A Harvester) to try two more beers and a couple of buffalo burgers.
To get to the village we walked to The Two Boats and then along the main road as there is a sign at the end of the footpath by the towing path saying the foot bridge over the stream is closed, not true, we came back that way and much more pleasant than walking the road.
The first pub tried to sell us two commemorative glasses at £2 each to take from pub to pub with us, but carrying a glass around seemed a right pain in the bum, any way at £3 a pint they can wash up after me.
All the boats that use to be moored on the offside between The Cuttle Inn and the lock have been moved and are now moored towing path side. A local dog walker told us that this was due to a dispute with the shed making company that use the land which they use to moor against, but he added its not over yet as BW have told the shed company that they own the first 7 ft of the bank anyway.
As the afternoon has progressed there have been more and more boats joining us moored along the concrete edge between bridge 26 and the old railway bridge. Watching them trying to drive pins into the concrete just under the turf has added to the amusement.
Thursday 28 April 2011
Day - Thursday
Start - Calcutt top
End -Long Itchington
About 1030 this morning we decided to move over to the water point and
top up before continuing on our way. Just before we did a boat cam
passed and tied up on the lock moorings, then nothing.
As we moved to the water point 2 boats came up in the lock, the lady on
the Canalbreak asked if we were going down and should she leave the
gates, I explained we were about to take water and would be a good 10
minutes before e we were ready to set off but the chap on the lock
moorings probably would. As they left the lock the other boat went in
and asked if we were joining him. I repeated the story and he said"fine, I
want a couple of things from the shop I will leave her here until you
Once filled with water we went into the lock beside his boat, closed up
and a couple of minutes he returned.
We thought he was single handing, but actually he had a young lady with
him who was not an experienced boat, but her inexperience made no
difference to his efficiency. He was well set up with ropes with eyes
for the bollards and quite happy to both use one gate, at the first lock
he shot down and set the second ready.
As we cleared Calcutt he asked how far we were going as he was heading
to Bascote for the night. We were more than happy sharing with him so we
decided to do the Stockton flight together as well.
As we approached Stockton top, two hire boats just came out of the lock,
so we had a very good run down the flight meeting just one boat half way
down the flight.
We moored between The Two Boats and the lock, just in front of n.b. Lena
H, I had a quick word with Adrian before walking back to the Blue Lias
to talk to Fair Fa who were partaking of a couple of pints of Adnams.
The pound was very low and I was a bit concerned that if the water came
up our gunwale could get trapped under the top of the piling, so we take
a walk a bit further down the cut to where the concrete edging is and
decided to move down to the only set of rings available.
Wednesday 27 April 2011
Day - Wednesday
Start - Napton Top Lock
End -Top of Calcutt Lock
We arrived at the boat yesterday a little before p.m.. yesterday and moved down to the top lock to load up from the car, we then backed up and moored opposite our home moorings.
We went down to The Folly for dinner; it was not so busy as last time we visited. The menu had changed a bit since the last visit and we both had the chicken & Mushroom pie, which was very good.
They are still unable to take credit and debit cards as they are waiting for the machine to arrive.
Before we set this morning we did a bit of shopping so it was almost midday before we made the top lock. There was a steady flow of traffic but no queues and we only turned a couple of locks.
Once clear of the flight we didn't meet another boat until we reached Napton Narrowboats.
The view of the windmill on the hill was very good with the way the light was striking it.
One of the boats in the Napton marina was covered on one side with green netting, I can only think it was to keep the sun off.
On the towing path opposite Napton Narrowboats there was a Green Plover just sitting in the afternoon sun. I suspect it may have been nesting nearby as it took off and swooped around us quite closely several times as we passed.
We turned hard left at Wigrams Turn and moored for the night just before Calcutt top lock in warm bright sunshine.
I waited until things cooled down a bit and then set about some of the rust spots on the rear end of the roof, but its an uphill struggle as the more I sanded the more paint fell off. The only real answer is to sand it all off and start again, but I don't intend to do that, so its just a few more patches coming up.
I took a wander to Calcutt Marina to buy a new pressure cap for the header tank as the old one has fallen apart, I don't know how well it will work as its 7psi where as the old one 13 psi.
As the evening wore on we were treated to a glorious sunset over the reservoir.
Thursday 14 April 2011
Last night while walking the dog I spoke to the boat moored ahead of us, he asked if we had seen where the two working boats were moored as he wanted to make sure he was ahead of them when he left in the morning.
This morning we heard he depart about 6 am. I worked on the principal that I would leave later and hopefully not catch them up.
We departed about 10 30 am. we had seen a few boats about but nowhere near as many as Tuesday and they all seemed to be going North.We had an uneventful run to Fenny Compton only meeting a couple of boats at the most, Fenny tunnel is much better since BW have cut the off side vegetation back.
We had planned to stop at Fenny to fill with water but both taps were in use so we carried on making our way around the Wormleighton bends. As we approached Marston Doles top lock we caught up to the motor and butty pulled over to the side with the stern line of the butty tied to the DIS lock marker. Just as my bow was level with their elm the woman on the butty untied it and the chap on the motor opened it up to pull away, I was by now already passing the butty and catching up with the motor still pulling and his bows swinging out across the cut, needless to say he took a bit more black off up with his bow just before I managed to get passed.
At Marston Doles there was a boat already setting the lock to go down and we pulled up to the water point, as someone had decided the best place to leave their boat was moored on the water point we were quite well forward. Someone had already pinned a note on his front door saying "Don't moor on water points" The motor laid beside him and the steerer walked forward to the lock asking if I was stopping for water, but not a word about pulling out as I was passing. Diana watered up while I went and helped the pair down through the first lock, for some reason Diana told the next boat they could also go ahead of us, by now there were three behind us and every one seemed to muck in working the boats down, of course we caught up with them at the next lock. Once clear of the locks we had a short run down to our moorings and with a good level in the pound got in without to much bother at about 4 pm.
I did one or two jobs to the boat including trying to get the weed hatch to seal, it does annoy me having a wet bum.
This evening we took a ride down to The Folly for a meal, the car park was pretty full and there were quite a few people there already, it was only just passed 7.30. The sell Hook Norton beer and the food was quite acceptable, at the moment they can't take credit cards, only cash or cheque's as they are still waiting for a terminal, but I will reserve judgement on what I think of the place until I have visited again, but lets say it didn't jump out and grab me.
Wednesday 13 April 2011
It was twenty past seven this evening and Diana was just putting the dinner out on the plates in the galley, we don't do silver service when afloat. We both looked up towards the side hatch as we both heard the sound of a slow engine working well. There about three feet five inches from the side hatch was the bow of a working boat, a working boat is about seven feet wide, those of you old enough to work in pre decimal numbers should be able to work it out. The ex working boat from Clattercote Wharf proceeded to run the length of our hull and then the hull of the boat moored ahead of us, she then dragged her butty the full length of our hull before starting on the one ahead.
I did consider redoing the blacking between the rubbing strips and the gunwale this week, I am glad I didn't bother.
I am always surprised how quiet it is moored in the centre of Banbury, after about 8 pm we didn't hear hardly anything, people, traffic, animals, nothing. Likewise this morning, no early morning hustle and bustle, joggers, dog walkers, just piece and quite.
We set off about 10-30 down through the lock, there were a couple of boats waiting to come up and as the lock was partly full two girls on the boat waiting to come up set it for us first. We had a gentle chug down to the winding hole, on the way I spotted this chap with no sign of a licence on display, not having a roof or engine I suppose he wouldn't need a BSS cert.
The winding hole below Banbury is a bit tighter on the mouth than most and leading into what could almost be described as a very short branch, we got round without to much bother, not one of my best manoeuvres and headed back up to the lock. When we arrived there was a boat waiting on the towing path, one on the services and one about to come out of the lock. After the boat left the lock the only movement was the boat on the towing path side adjusting his ropes. I enquired as to whether he was intending to go into the lock, his reply was the chap at the services was next. The chap at the services said he was about to fill his water tank and would be some time, so the first chap said he wasn't in any hurry and would probably moor in town so I might as well go first.
The house by the temporary bridge, between Hardwick lock and Tesco's , now makes and sells wooden tiller ends as well as tiller holders, the price looks very reasonable and there are several designs to choose from.
We met a few boats between here and Cropredy where we managed to overtake two of the three ahead of us when they stopped for shopping and water and the third one who moored just above Cropredy lock, we are out in front, all locks will be ours (we think).
Just above Broadmoor Lock we saw the award winning journalist, Steve Haywood, working hard cleaning his boat down so we pulled over for a few minutes to start putting the world right, but moved on when the boat following came out of the lock.
We continued our clean run of locks right into the Claydon flight, where it all went wrong and they were all against us. We didn't see the boat ahead until the second from top lock where we caught them up and that was the only pound in which we met a boat.
As we left the flight there was just one pack of cup cakes left for sale and with great willpower we resisted them and moved on a couple of hundred meters to moor for the night at 4-30 pm. just through bridge 144.
Tuesday 12 April 2011
Sometime last night I woke up, it was dark and I have no idea of the time, I heard voices and thought, that's a couple of the long term moorers off to work, why are they just standing outside our boat talking. I listened a bit longer, it sounds like they are listening to the radio. A this point I decided to get up and investigate, I went through into the lounge to find our radio had switched its self on, how it did it I don't have a clue, its a car radio and its never done it before. I stepped over the dog and switched it off and headed back to bed.
We woke this morning to bright sunshine and set off at 10 am right behind "Sunset", but we only went as far as The Wharf where we stopped to fill with water. This is quite a good tap with decent presser so it didn't take long to fill up. The second tap was also in use and when they moved off a third boat pulled in, just as we were finishing a forth turned up for water and waited until we moved off.
The weather was pleasant as we made our way through Fenny tunnel but the breeze was quite cool in the more exposed parts. We arrived at the top of the Claydon flight to find two boats waiting to go down and one just coming out of the lock. The lock cottage had a table by the top gates where they were selling home made cup cakes at £2 for 4, we found them very tasty. There was a steady flow of boats coming up the flight but they were mostly slow and a bit wide spaced so we ended up waiting for the oncoming boat above every lock. One of them must hold the record for the slowest entry into a lock.
We saw several hand written notices pined to posts and boards saying that the Country Life museum has now closed but no official notice. Once clear of the flight we were also clear of the queues, but all the locks were against us. The surprising thing was that we met 3 boats between Bourton Lock and the motorway but the next lock was still against us. There does not seem to have been any progress at Bourton Lock cottage.
Coming into Banbury we passed Sunset moored at Spiceball Park visitor moorings, we stopped at Sovereign to take on a 100 lts of diesel at 87 p lt, I stopped to have a quick word with Timothy West and thank him for introducing me to the canals many years ago with his program about the opening of the K&A
We were lucky enough to find a mooring between the foot bridge and the car park access bridge in Banbury at 5 pm. Since we have been here several boats have both left and arrived. Tomorrow we plan to drop through the lock and wind before retracing our steps to Napton.
Monday 11 April 2011
We left Suffolk this morning in bright sunshine, it continued like this all the way along the A 14 to where we turned off at Junction 1, it even stayed with us until we reached Southam at 1 30 and then it clouded over with thick heavy clouds. These stayed with us until gone 4 pm.
We gave Harnser a quick check over and then turned her round to face south and moved over to the towing path side to load up and get the dog onboard. There were several boats travelling in each direction and we waited until the hire boat "Sunset" to pass before setting off ourselves at 2 pm. We followed "Sunset" up the Marston Dole locks and then passed them when they pulled in for water just above the locks.
It wasn't long before it started to drizzle but luckily it didn't last long. We met several boats as we made our way south, a couple of them in bridge holes of course. Oakfield was moored by the radio mast at Wormleighton and was mid way through an oil change as we passed, you can guess who was working the vacuum pump to suck the oil out.
We moored for the night a short way before Fenny Wharf at 5-30 in pleasant sunshine and it wasn't long before "Sunset" came plodding passed the row of moored boats only to meet a boat coming the other way as they were about to pass us, this wasn't made any easy by us being moored on the bend with our bum sticking out a bit and the hire boat going north being well away from the offside bank.
It was here that we saw our first clutch of ducklings of the season, unfortunately a swan took a great dislike to one of the parent ducks and tried its hardest to grab and drowned it.